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After receiving a master degree in Biotechnology at the University of Verona (Italy) in 1998, I joined the neuroscience centre of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), a research-based pharmaceutical company based in Verona (Italy) and Harlow (UK). There I pioneered the use of functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to describe the neural substrates modulated by pharmacological agents, a line of research that I also pursued to obtain a PhD degree in biomedical imaging with the University of Verona. During my years at GSK I took on roles of increasing responsibility, and developed a strong background in MRI, neurocomputation and neuropharmacology, as well as in the application of translational approaches to study neuropsychiatric brain disorders. In 2010 I joined the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, where I lead the Functional Neuroimaging Laboratory. The lab is equipped with a 7 Tesla small-animal MRI scanner for in vivo imaging. During my research activity, I have described the circuital substrates modulated by centrally-active agents in multiple areas of experimental neuroscience (e.g. schizophrenia, depression, drug addiction etc.) and identified functional and structural alterations in different rodent models of brain pathology. More recently, I established methods to map functional connectivity in the mouse brain and to perturb it with cell-type specificity (chemogenetic-fMRI), laying the foundations of a novel field of translational research that is now pursued by an increasing number of laboratories. Our investigations of the mouse functional connectome have identified mouse homologues of the human default-mode (DMN) and salience networks, and allowed to characterize signatures of disrupted connectivity associated to several autism-risk genes. My current research is primarily focused on the investigation of the functional architecture of the mammalian brain at the macroscale, using the mouse as a physiologically-accessible model organism. Leveraging funding from the European Research Council (ERC, #Disconn), we are currently using perturbational approaches (i.e. chemogenetics, optogenetics, genetic conditioning) to investigate the elusive neural basis of connectivity disruption in developmental disorders such as autism, or schizophrenia. A major goal of our research is to use functional network systems as a novel translational language that can be related to cognitive processes and neuropathological traits across-species.
Coletta L., Pagani M., Whitesell J.D., Harris J.A., Bernhardt B., Gozzi A.
Network structure of the mouse brain connectome with voxel resolution
Science advances, vol. 6, (no. 51)
Whitesell J.D., Liska A., Coletta L., Hirokawa K.E., Bohn P., Williford A., Groblewski P.A., Graddis N., Kuan L., Knox J.E., Ho A., Wakeman W., Nicovich P.R., Nguyen T.N., van Velthoven C.T.J., Garren E., Fong O., Naeemi M., Henry A.M., Dee N., Smith K.A., Levi B., Feng D., Ng L., Tasic B., Zeng H., Mihalas S., Gozzi A., Harris J.A.
Regional, Layer, and Cell-Type-Specific Connectivity of the Mouse Default Mode Network
Bertero A., Liska A., Pagani M., Parolisi R., Masferrer M.E., Gritti M., Pedrazzoli M., Galbusera A., Sarica A., Cerasa A., Buffelli M., Tonini R., Buffo A., Gross C., Pasqualetti M., Gozzi A.
Autism-associated 16p11.2 microdeletion impairs prefrontal functional connectivity in mouse and human
Brain, vol. 141, (no. 7), pp. 2055-2065
Giorgi A., Migliarini S., Galbusera A., Maddaloni G., Mereu M., Margiani G., Gritti M., Landi S., Trovato F., Bertozzi S.M., Armirotti A., Ratto G.M., De Luca M.A., Tonini R., Gozzi A., Pasqualetti M.
Brain-wide Mapping of Endogenous Serotonergic Transmission via Chemogenetic fMRI
Cell Reports, vol. 21, (no. 4), pp. 910-918
Award and Achievements
ERC Starting Grant, Neural basis of functional disconnectivity in brain disorders - DisConn, 2019-2024
NARSAD Indpendent Investigator Grant 2017
Simmons Foundation for Autism Research (SFARI) explorer award (2016)
Simmons Foundation for Autism Research (SFARI) explorer award (2014)
GlaxoSmithKline Scinovation Award (2007 and 2009)
Colleagues of Functional Neuroimaging
Rossella Poli Support Administrative Assistant Neural Computation Functional Neuroimaging Neurodevelopmental Disorders Administrative Directorate Res. Line Admin. Support Life Science
Paola Battistoni Administrative Assistant Neural Computation Functional Neuroimaging Neurodevelopmental Disorders Administrative Directorate Res. Line Admin. Support Life Science